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GDS to develop assurance process for Whitehall digital priorities

20/01/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Government Digital Service (GDS) is developing proposals for an ongoing assurance process of Whitehall departments’ digital priorities.

It said the move has originated from a round of assurance exercises to support departments’ bids from funds in last year’s Spending Review. It claimed that these helped to make the case for the allocation of more than £600 million over the next year to deal with legacy technology issues.

Tom Read

Tom Read (pictured), currently chief digital information officer at the Ministry of Justice and soon to become the chief executive of GDS, said: "The sessions had just the right balance of holding departments to account and supporting in a collaborative way. Although we’ve worked hard to highlight the importance of investing in digital, technology and security, the concerted effort from the Cabinet Office has been invaluable."

GDS said it is now working with colleagues from the digital, data, security and commercial functions around Whitehall to develop the proposals for an ongoing assurance process, which will feed into future Spending Reviews.

Wide involvement

“We will develop our assurance process so that it is easy for departments and the Treasury to take advantage of, and so that as many departments as possible can be involved,” it said.

“We hope that, by doing this, we can ensure that DDaT (digital, data and technology) insights and assurance become part of the normal operating model for Cabinet Office and the Treasury, and can ensure that the right challenges continue to get the right funding.”

The round of assurance exercises last year involved panels from GDS, the Cabinet Office, the Government Security Group, the Government Commercial Service and various DDaT experts.

The news comes days after the Cabinet Office announced that GDS is to focus on standards, controls and assurance functions, along with the development of new digital products and services, while a new Central Digital and Data Office will be the strategic centre for digital, data and technology in government.

Whitehall pic from iStock, Linda Stewart

Tom Read pic from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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